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Wiki Champion or Wiki Bully?

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The biggest challenge that most managers or work team leaders face when they decide to use a wiki is getting their coworkers to use it too. Some organizations have been extremely effective at getting mass participation on their wikis, others have simply failed altogether.

The nice folks at Atlassian, the private Australian company that is among the leaders in enterprise wiki software, decided to see if they could figure out why. Obviously, it is in their interest (and that of the other wiki companies, too) to find ways to help customers be successful in their implementations.

It turns out (no surprise) that people working together online have pretty much the same habits and personality quirks that you encounter in real life; which is to say, they behave in ways that range from super positive and reinforcing to downright nasty and demotivating. Because wikis are community efforts their ultimate success depends upon encouraging the former and keeping a lid on the latter.

Atlassian has now launched a public wiki called Wikipatterns.com that focuses on identifying and collecting patterns that help coordinate peoples’ efforts and guide the growth of content, which is the key to wiki success. Equally important, Wikipatterns also collects anti-patterns that might hinder the growth of a wiki, so they can be fixed or avoided.

"The site contains three major strands of content: People patterns and anti-patterns, adoption patterns and anti-patterns, and a walk-through of the stages of wiki adoption," says Stewart Mader, Atlassian’s wiki evangelist. "The patterns and anti-patterns on the site are loosely modeled on the concept of software design patterns – those recurring, recognizable, and applicable patterns of behavior that can be applied to a wide range of situations. For instance, the Magnet pattern recognizes that putting certain content exclusively on the wiki will help people get into the habit of using it regularly; i.e., posting all your meeting agendas and minutes on the wiki establishes it as the place for the most up to date information."

Mader says Wikipatterns.com is intended to give anyone, anywhere, using any wiki software, a source of information for successfully introducing a wiki to their organization. It’s a terrific new resource for enterprise wiki adopters and one that I hope the other wiki software vendors will embrace because it benefits everybody.

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Wiki Champion or Wiki Bully?
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About Jerry Bowles
Jerry Bowles has more than 30 years of varied experience as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, corporate communications director and blogger. For the past 20 years, he has produced and written special supplements on new technologies for a number of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.

http://www.enterpriseweb2.com WebProNews Writer
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